ISLAMABAD - Members of the PILDAT, Citizens Group on Electoral Process (CGEP), alongside MNAs, representatives of various political parties, media and civil society organizations demanded of the government to institute electoral reforms at this stage so as to avoid electoral issues at a later stage. These demands were put forth at a Roundtable Discussion on Electoral Reforms organized by PILDAT here on Wednesday. Widely attended by MNAs from various political parties, representatives of major political parties, students, academia and the media, the roundtable discussion discussed CGEP proposed electoral reforms in addition to sharing regional lessons of electoral processes and reforms from countries such as India and Sri Lanka. Among the key members of CGEP who took part in the discussion included Justice (Retd.) Saeed-uz-Zaman Siddiqui, Former Chief Justice of Pakistan; Ihsan Iqbal, PML-N, Gohar Ayoub, PML-Q, Syed Bilal and Hafiz Tanveer Ahmad, JI, Former Governor Punjab Tasneem Noorani, Former Federal Secretary and Aasiya Riaz, Joint Director PILDAT. K. M. Dilshad, Secretary Election Commission of Pakistan, was also part of the roundtable discussion in addition to national and international organizations working on democracy and electoral process in Pakistan. Welcoming the participants, Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, Executive Director of PILDAT briefly shared CGEP and its work. The Citizens Group on Electoral Process (CGEP), throughout its electoral process monitoring work spanning from December 2006 to until after February 2008 elections, had proposed a set of Electoral Reforms for Pakistan. Now, CGEP members, after holding extensive discussions and analyzing regional electoral processes and reforms, got together with local stakeholders and regional expert to give a final shape to what should be the electoral reforms in Pakistan, he said. Presenting a summary of the paper on Indian Electoral System, authored especially for PILDAT by T. S. Krishnamurthy, Former Chief Election Commissioner of India, Mr. Mehboob said that the Indian Election Commission too did not exercise the powers and authority vested in it until T. N. Seshan, the celebrated Chief Election Commissioner of India, took over. Much of the clout and powers of the ECI that it enjoys today were comfortably accorded to it by the politicians and the governments in India as there are many political and judicial battles the government of India contested with Seshan over these powers. However, once the tradition of exercising authority by the ECI was established, even those CECs coming after Seshan have continued in the same tradition, Mehboob emphasized. He said that there are many powers such as election tribunal system and of charged expenditure that the ECP enjoys but that still appear on the electoral reforms agenda of the ECI. However, he concluded, it is the powers and authority exercised by the ECI that makes it a much more credible and powerful institution. Kingsley Rodrigo, Chairperson, People Action For Free & Fair Elections (PAFREL), Sri Lanka, shared his findings and views on Electoral Systems and experiences in Sri Lanka. Presenting the CGEP Proposed Electoral Reforms in Pakistan Shahid Hamid, Former Governor Punjab and member CGEP highlighted that key required electoral reforms in Pakistan are elections within political parties, transparency and accountability of funding during election process, neutral monitoring and supervision, pre-delimitation of constituencies and unbiased caretaker government. With her concluding remarks, Farzana Raja, Federal Minister/ Chairperson Benazir Income Support Programme said that electoral reforms are high on the agenda of the PPP government. Most of CGEP proposed reforms are already part of the PPP reform agenda. She appreciated PILDAT role in facilitating CGEP and its work and a timely discussion on electoral reform proposals.